Wednesday, March 23, 2016
A Spring Storm
As the warm rays of sun cast a gentle radiating warmth upon my cheeks I can’t help but think to myself, “we made it.” I can feel the sting of tears at the corners of my eyes and I have to tip my head towards the sun to keep the tears from spilling down onto my cheeks. We had made it through winter. Spring had arrived early and I was wrapped within its promising warmth. Spring meant new life, a renewed hope, and an inner peace budding deep from within. Again, resounding within every part of my being were the words, “we made it.” And I believed and celebrated it whole-heartedly.
But I was reminded how quickly the seasons of CF can change. How quickly a spring snowstorm can suffocate spring’s hope – reminding the innocent new life of its unforgiving power. Today, winter’s fury is forbidding to relinquish its control to the peace of spring. Yesterday was a beautiful 60 degree spring day here in South Dakota. Today, we await an unforgiving wintery snowstorm.
Upon returning home Monday morning from a most beautiful extended trip to the beach, I had a full afternoon and night of teaching scheduled. Early that afternoon, I went into my studio to warm up and get myself organized for the voice lessons that lie ahead. But something felt different and off. I thought maybe it was because I literally hadn’t sung a note in ten days – the most time I’d taken away from singing in over a year. As I warmed up and sang through a few things, I noticed how quickly I’d run out of air and how difficult it was for me to finish phrases that just ten days ago were simple. Within me I could feel winter’s gentle, yet unforgiving snowfall beginning to drench my being. As I taught and sang with my students the rest of the day and night, I noticed how starved of breath I felt and how my lungs burned to take in more air than they were allowed.
Tuesday morning between the normal adventures and opportunities that fill my life, I made a visit to my clinic to do a quick lung function test (PFT) - just wanting to check-in and see if there was any cause for concern. I was reminded of the unrelenting presence of winter amidst the beauty of spring. In just two weeks since my last PFT my lung function had dropped 10% to a FEV1 of 40%. So, Penny was called upon. Aggressively, both IV and oral antibiotics were started. The words “we made it” wept silently from the deepest parts of my soul. Disappointment threatened to replace spring’s eternal hope. Disappointment in myself and a disappointment and sadness I feared to see reflected in the faces of those I love. But within that disappointment is still something to be grateful for – I made it five months without IV antibiotics. That’s the longest I’ve gone consecutively in over 3 years. That is truly something to celebrate.
This winter storm’s snow will melt into the earth, disappearing beneath the spring’s powerful sun and renewing warmth. This “storm of CF” will melt away. Today’s snow will give life to the most beautiful of springs. The seasons of CF will always change and its storms will rage but the hope of spring will dwell eternally within me, always waiting to be enlivened by spring’s warmth.
Amidst the pains of CF is the deepest gratitude and love for my CF Team. I am so thankful for each of them - their genuine care, guidance, strength, and reminding me that I’m never alone in this journey. I'm grateful for my deep love of singing and the gift it gives me to combat CF and know when something is off. I'm grateful for each of you and the beauty of spring you each reflect into my life. Love to you all.